–FIVE RUSSIAN SERVICEMEN KILLED IN GROZNY
Five federal Interior Ministry servicemen, including a lieutenant colonel and two majors, were killed on September 21 when their car was ambushed in Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky district, the Rosbalt news agency reported. Meanwhile, Chechen law-enforcement bodies captured a rebel field commander who was a personal bodyguard of the late Aslan Maskhadov, Interfax reported on September 18. The news agency quoted a Chechen Interior Ministry spokesman as saying that the captured field commander was a 40-year-old resident of Avtury in Chechnya’s Shali district who led a group of ten rebels. No name was given. Interfax also quoted the Chechen Interior Ministry as saying that it had captured a 43-year-old resident of the republic’s Nozhai-Yurt district who was a field commander of a group of fighters loyal to the Dagestani militant leader Rappani Khalilov. Meanwhile, RIA Novosti reported on September 16 that a column of four Interior Ministry cars was bombed in the city of Shali. The explosion wounded one serviceman.
–VOSTOK COMMANDER REPORTEDLY “MEDIATES” BUSINESS DISPUTE
A group of armed Chechens reportedly led by Sulim Yamadaev, commander of the
GRU’s Vostok (East) spetsnaz battalion in Chechnya, raided the Samson-K meat-processing plant in St. Petersburg’s Moskovsky district on September 15. Samson-K, a subsidiary of Moscow Industrial Bank whose general director, Khamzat Arsamakov, is a distant relative of Moscow Industrial Bank president Abubakar Arsamakov, has been involved in a property dispute with another company, Salolin. Kommersant reported on September 19 that Levon Kharazov, director of the Salolin subsidiary Commercial Real Estate Bureau, went to Samson-K’s offices on September 15 and demanded that the original ownership documents for various buildings belonging to Samson-K be handed over to be “rewritten in the name of Salolin.” Afterward, a group of 25-30 armed Chechens arrived at the Samson-K offices, reportedly led by Yamadaev, who allegedly told police who had been called to the scene: “There is a conflict between two Chechen relatives here. They will settle it themselves. I am here so that everything will be legal.” According to Kommersant, after being visited by the armed Chechens, Arsamakov was hospitalized with a broken arm, concussion and multiple bruises, and the organized crime division of the St. Petersburg police told the newspaper that Arsamakov and his family had been put under guard. Nonetheless, he resigned as plant director on September 18 “out of fear for his life,” Kommersant reported. The Vostok battalion has been implicated in the disappearance of 11 residents of the Chechen village of Borozdinovskaya in June 2005 (Chechnya Weekly, June 22, 2005).
–FOREIGN MINISTRY PROTESTS JAMESTOWN CONFERENCE
The Russian Foreign Ministry protested to the U.S. embassy over the conference on the North Caucasus sponsored by the Jamestown Foundation and held at the Root Room of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC on September 14. The ministry said it protested the fact that Mayrbek Vachagaev, whom it described as “the former Maskhadov emissary,” had been invited to the conference, RIA Novosti reported on September 14. Interfax that same day reported, “The Russian side noted that the staging of events on American territory which publicize terrorism contradicts the USA’s international commitments, including the stipulations of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy recently approved by the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council resolutions 1624, 1373, 1267, 1617 and 1566.” Mayrbek Vachagaev is a PhD candidate in Social Sciences at the University of Paris and author of the book, “Chechnya in the 19th Century Caucasian Wars.”